Google reportedly planning a censored search engine for China

  • Google reportedly planning a censored search engine for China

Google reportedly planning a censored search engine for China

But according to a report from The Intercept, the United States tech giant now wants to return to the world's biggest single market for internet users.

Despite pulling its search engine in 2010, Google now has more than 700 employees in China, according to the Times.

Google has been accused of being in "chilling" complicity with the Chinese government after plans for a censored version of its search engine were leaked.

As per the report, Google's search app would automatically "identify and filter" all the content blocked by China's firewall. Facing heat from activists and even the US government, Google eventually ended the product.

Others commentators on Twitter have been similarly troubled by the news.

Wang told HKFP: "Google has also not explained how it plans to protect users from surveillance given China's Cybersecurity Law passed in 2016, which requires companies to restrict online anonymity..."

Its Google Translate app for smartphones was approved in China past year. Don't be evil. The corporate profits aren't worth it. If Google launches a search service in China, it's on the government's terms. "The liberals of this world obviously will recoil at the idea".

Search terms about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protests will be among the words blacklisted in the search engine app, which The Intercept said had already been demonstrated to the Chinese government. "But we don't comment on speculation about future plans", a person aware of the matter told TechCrunch.

China has been the biggest hole in Google's global footprint since it withdrew in 2010. The search service will initially be accessible exclusively through the Android app.

At the time, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had issued the following statement to The Guardian explaining his stance against Chinese censorship - "It touches me more than other people having been born in a country that was totalitarian and having seen that for the first few years of my life".

China infamously maintains extensive censorship of the internet with strict legislation in place to regulate domestic internet usage.

Shares in Baidu (BIDU) dropped 8% on Wednesday after The Intercept report was published.

In June, Google invested $550 million in JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce platform that is second only to Alibaba in the country. In 2014 and 2015, Google developed a version of its Play app store that only included apps and services approved by the Chinese government, but that hasn't launched.

About three months later, Google made good on a threat to stop offering search in China.

The project is code-named Dragonfly, an Intercept report notes, and has been secretly in development since last spring, accelerating after a December 2017 meeting between Google CEO Sundar Pichai and the Kissinger of China, Wang Huning, who's a top foreign policy adviser of China's President Xi.